My favorite blogger, Mary Wise, used five words given to her by a friend to guide the writing of a recent blog. I took Mary up on her offer to give out five words to other bloggers. I figured her help would help me get through the blog block I've been having...so, here's the result:
My biological family is a small one. I have a brother, a sister, a daughter, and a nephew. I had another brother who died in 1996 (that was the year my nephew was born). I have always had mixed feelings about family. Yet, I admire and envy other families who are close and supportive of one another. My mom was an only child and my father, although the third of four children in his family, was never close to any of his siblings. Whatever the reason for the estrangement, he might as well have been an only child. I have a cousin somewhere whose name is Gary Garland. But I haven't heard from him since I was eight. My dear friend from STC, Suzanna Laurent, told me that her mother died on Tuesday. Her mom was in her 90s and had 81 grandchildren! Now, that's some family.
No wonder Suzanna is a natural leader. Leadership is something one can't read about and then become one. I think some folks have a natural tendency to be leaders, even when they don't try. Others work at it, and through a series of connected events and mindsets, get good at it over time. But the majority of folks, no matter how much they read or practice, just don't have the magnetism or special formula it takes to have others follow them. I bet Suzanna's leadership skills were a combination of born to it and practiced. I don't know if she would have thought of herself as a leader in her years as a young mother, but by the time I met her she certainly was exhibiting leadership...and she has only gotten stronger and better over the years.
Being a good leader can be fun. Walter Cronkite, a leader to so many in so many different ways, died last week. I watched a few shows that chronicled his life and work. I must say that despite his having to report on some of the most challenging and interesting years of the 20th century, it looked like he had fun. He had many friends and enjoyed people. He knew when to work and he knew that it was important to balance that work with play. I know my own memories of the major events of the 60s were all bookended by Uncle Walter. At only 92, he was probably considered a kid by Suzanna's mom. I imagine that they are both on the other size of the horizon doing whatever comes next, and I bet they're both still having fun.
Something about mentioning the horizon made me think of the Rainbow Bridge and how some of those great things we'll meet in our next manifestation will be our pets. I recently saw an old family slide and my mom was walking on the dunes near the coast of Maroc (Morocco) with a dog we had then--Blackie. (Yes, I was quite original in naming him.) Until I saw that slide, I could only remember one dog from our Maroc days--Neige. Neige means snow in French (uh-huh, he was a white dog--I had a theme, and it was in two languages!).
Pets have always been important to me, although having them can bring grief, they more often bring joy. I have pets and they make my home so much more fun than it would be otherwise. With them around, I know someone will look to me for leadership...even if it's leadership to their food bowls or to their leash for a walk. And, that's OK with me, too. They're part of my family.